Australia,which has banned the use of asbestos,should step in and ask Canada to halt the exports of the silicate minerals to India where it is widely used,a Labor Senator has said.
Senator from Tasmania Lisa Singh,the first person of South Asian decent to be elected to the Australian Parliament and chairperson of an all-party group on asbestos,was on a visit to India recently where she met anti-asbestos activists.
According to reports,Singh has expressed hope that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government should make its views known to the Canadians.
“I think that we have to really lead by our own example and really make it very clear that this is simply not on. I mean this is a developed nation,Canada knows better than this. “Canada won’t use asbestos themselves but they are quite happy to export it to developing countries to you know,areas where they know they’ve got that open market because the safety regulations in those countries are not as strong,” she said.
“Now that is simply not on and I think Australia and other developed nations like the EU nations that have also banned asbestos,need to put that pressure onto Canada and make sure that they stop this absolutely appalling trade,
” she said.
India is said to be one of the world’s biggest markets for asbestos,along with China and Brazil. According to health experts,the prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses,including malignant lung cancer,mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Quebec’s provincial government recently provided USD 56 million loan to re-open a local ailing asbestos Jeffrey mine. The mine’s white asbestos is regarded as lethal to use in Canada but it is likely to be shipped to India where use of asbestos is still widespread. Jeffrey had ceased production late last year but is said to be back in operation after the latest infusion of cash.